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Newport and vicinity recommendations for NYC foodies

We are driving up from NYC to Newport this labor day weekend and would appreciate your recommendations. Looking for must-go restaurants in the Newport vicinity - perhaps something iconic, unique, or a local institution. Not really going for the most expensive fancy French/New American type restaurant similar to those in NYC. Based on what I've read in these boards, here is my list so far:

-Flo's Clam Shack
-Black Pearl
-Scales and Shells
-Salvation Cafe
-Gary's Handy Lunch
-Ocean Coffee Roasters
-Pour Judgment / Yesterday's for drinks (looking for something like a local brewery or one with a good beer selection or one with a great atmosphere)

We would drive up on Friday and come back Sunday night. So we would have 2 breakfasts/brunches, 2 lunches, and 2-3 dinners (may stop in Mystic for Abbott's or New Haven for Louis Lunch or somewhere else on the way there or on the way back).

We would appreciate your tips/recommendations. Thanks!

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    1. Krystle, I can recommend, with a song in my heart, Gary's, Scales, and the Black Pearl. The first two are cash only. Scales wood grilled anything is usually good. A side of pasta is included. Side salads are small but very nice. Same the veggie kabob. Much of their fish is local from the boats you'll see between the buildings on Thames St. Gary's Handy Lunch is just down the street. Dineresque, and they will know you if you go more than once. I always get the Garden Omelet and it is always too much, Which is remarkable, because I can eat a lot.(Not entirely happy about that statement.) Only breakfast on Sunday. Annie's, on Bellevue, is another choice. And the Pearl is a classic. Their chowder is thick, creamy, and seasoned with dill, I think. The outside patio is nice in summer. We haven't been to Yesterday's for a long time, so I can't comment. I did, however, recently buy a bottle of wine from a Newport wine store with a picture of the Newport Bridge on the label. The name? Great White. Happy Labor Day.

      1. I would choose The Mooring over Black Pearl.

        And yes, it's high end but have lunch (not crazy-expensive) on the terraza of the Spiced Pear....you won't find a prettier view in Newport....you'll feel like a Vanderbilt.

        Lower end still a great view.....the poolside bar at the Hyatt Goat Island, amazing view of the bridge....go at twilight to see it lit up.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JaneRI

          We are considering having brunch at the Castle Hill Inn. How is the view/food/overall feel of the Castle Hill Inn vs. Spiced Pear? Although Spiced Pear seems too pricey for brunch.

          1. re: krystle920

            Castle Hill is just stunning. Great food too. Not cheap but yes, I think Spiced Pear brunch is crazy-exp. You won't be disappointed by any aspect of Castle Hill. The terraza at SP has a bar, you could have a glass of wine there if you wanted to see it.

        2. If you want an romantic oceanside view. There is a restaurant on Ocean drive by the lighthouse, I believe its called the Chateau. Great food and atmosphere. Also in Bowens wharf there is a great restaurant called Twenty-Two Bowens. If you're into Thai, go to the Thai restaurant on thayer st. For a good guiness beer and burgers that won't bust your wallet, Griswold's on Belleview Avenue.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Christine27

            "If you want an romantic oceanside view. There is a restaurant on Ocean drive by the lighthouse, I believe its called the Chateau"

            Christine, where is this place? I've never heard of it but it sounds intriguing!

            1. re: JaneRI

              I think she may be confused. Castle Hill is the only place on the Drive near a lighthouse, in fact I am pretty sure it is the only restaurant on the Drive (unless you count the snack bar at Gooseberry Beach)..

              1. re: Frobisher

                She is correct Castle Hill is part of the Relais & Chateaux properties...if you visit the web site it explains everything . The sign at the entrance of Castle Hill also has Relais & Chateaux on it.

              2. re: JaneRI

                Its on OCean Drive, where you can climb the rocks to the light house.

                1. re: Christine27

                  christine, could you be talking about the Castle Hill Inn?

            2. Asterick's - belgian/french brasserie
              zelda's - best local restaurant IMO
              Everday Gourmet - breakfast
              Scales is "good" but always a zoo on weekends
              Garys is a diner - food is OK but short on Newport charm
              drinks at Chanler or Castle Hill on the lawn. dinner is expensive but drinks are ok

              whatever you do make reservations before you get there or you will not be eating anywhere

              1 Reply
              1. re: tfed

                Castle Hill has a great lunch (I was there 2 wks ago, we both loved our meals), it's a moderately-priced alternative, and you still get that great view and wonderful service.

                Royron, it's almost an hour from downtown Newport to the Back Eddy....while I love their outdoor bar, I wouldn't leave all that Newport has to offer for the Back Eddy, esp not when just on a wkend visit.

              2. I would recommend the Back Eddy in Westport, MA which is not very far from Newport. Very casual dining overlooking the Westport marina. Excellent seafood.

                5 Replies
                1. re: RoyRon

                  Thanks for all your recommendations. Our schedule now is as follows:

                  Friday dinner - Salvation Cafe or Louis Lunch or Sea Swirl or Abbott's
                  Saturday brunch/lunch - Gary's Handy Lunch or Ocean Coffee Roasters?
                  Saturday dinner - Black Pearl or The Mooring?
                  Sunday brunch/lunch - Castle Hill Inn
                  Sunday dinner - Scales and Shells or Flo's Clam Shack

                  We would appreciate your input.

                  1. re: krystle920

                    Castle Hill is by far the best choice, I went there for my wedding anniversery last week. It is the most scenic retaurant in the state and the service is like no other.

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/21736465...

                    1. re: krystle920

                      I'm a proponent for Salvation Cafe for dinner one night (funky and really fun to eat out back, in the tiki lounge-y area); Scales and Shells for early dinner another night (get there at 5 pm, when it opens) - I NEVER get the wood grilled fish; always the lobster fra diavolo, which feeds 3-4 comfortably; Pour Judgement for lunch one day (inexpensive, well-prepared food, nice beer and wine lists) followed by darts across the street at the Fastnet.

                      1. re: digga

                        Thanks, will probably try Salvation Cafe for dinner one night. Just wondering though, is it like an East Village/Brooklyn funky/eclectic type place that's why it's popular? or is it because the food is really great?

                        1. re: digga

                          digga, why not the wood grilled fish? Striped bass has been amazing, just right, as has bluefish. Swordfish, wonderful. Also lobster. I absolutely agree with the fra diavolo. It has served a family of four and we left with a song in out hearts. Maybe we've been lucky. We've never waited more than fifteen minutes for a table. It's noisy, but we've been very lucky with service and it is fun to watch the cooking.

                    2. We love Peurini's, always good. Restaurant Lucia is always great, BYOB.

                      1. Fifth Element has some of the best food in town, it's not fancy and the bar atmosphere can trump the restaurant, but the food is really good. If you are really NYC foodies, you won't find comparable food in Newport - choose atmosphere over meals - Castle HIll is gorgeous, the terrace at the Chanler - Perro Salado (outside eating area) and the view from Pineapples at the Hyatt on Goat Island. For fried seafood type meals - the best I've found in the area is Evelyns in Tiverton - beautiful area for a drive too.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: harryharry

                          Is there a view from the Perro Salado outside area? Menu seems different, but I'm a bit scared trying Mexican food in the heart of New England especially since NYC can't even get it right...

                          1. re: krystle920

                            No view, but a really pretty spot w/ tree growing in the middle. You couldn't say that Perro Salado is traditional Mexican food, - stick w/ the apps - the sticky ribs, the grilled corn, the emapanadas & the small taqueria plates - margaritas are great too - spicy cucumber (which isn't spicy) and the blood orange are my two favorites.

                        2. I haven't seen anybody mention Tucker's Bistro! I had dinner there about a year ago and it was one of the best meals I've had. It is just a really neat, unique place, with excellent food and service.

                          http://www.tuckersbistro.com/pages/me...

                          1. If I were in the area for just a few days, I would be sure to include a visit to Castle Hill. In my opinion, Black Pearl and the Mooring are pretty much comparable, depending on who's in the kitchen. I've been frequenting both for many years. My concern with Spiced Pear is not the prices, but that you can do just as well for a little less at several places in the Newport area.

                            I agree with Jane's recommendation for Goat Island at twilight for a view of the Pell Bridge as it lights up. You can also take a ride across the bridge for breakfast or coffee in Jamestown. If you like Abbott's, you probably won't be disappointed with Flo's. I consider both to be pretty good but not what they used to be.

                            Keep in mind that it's Labor Day weekend in coastal RI, and we're hearing that a lot of seasonal employees have just left, some of them without notice. So delays or confusion at some of the places we have been talking about is possible.

                            1. I was recently very dissapointed by Scales. Service was good and friendly, but the food was just 'good,' I expected more from the reviews and the cost.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dennisl

                                couldn't agree more. I was especially disappointed by the dish that everyone raves about - lobster fra diavolo.